sport

Mahan wary of English duo

Hunter Mahan has identified Ian Poulter, Tiger Woods and Luke Donald as the three dangermen in Arizona this week.

Mahan will head into the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship as the defending champion at Dove Mountain, having clinched his second World Golf Championships title 12 months ago when he beat Rory McIlroy 2&1 in the final.

This time around, the American has identified two of Europe's Ryder Cup heroes from Medinah as real dangers, along with Woods who will be looking for his fourth victory in the event this week.

When asked who he thought would go well, Mahan responded: "(Ian) Poulter, I think Tiger (Woods) is a great match play player and probably Luke Donald.

"Luke is just the ultimate match play player because he's a guy that can easily chip in from anywhere, change the kind of momentum of a match. He's a great putter. No matter where he is, he's never going to be really out of a hole.

"Poults just has a will about him that makes him a good player. And then Tiger is just a great player in general, and he just doesn't like to lose. That's always a great motivator."

Mahan admits he played some of the best golf of his career on the way to the title last year as he beat Zach Johnson, YE Yang, Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar and Mark Wilson before toppling McIlroy.

The 30-year-old, who starts his defence with a first-round clash against Italy's Matteo Manassero, insists that remaining aggressive throughout is the key to performing well in the match play format.

"There's no defending here. It's just trying to win this week, trying to beat the guys who are going to play in front of you and that's going to be a tough challenge. The score is kind of irrelevant," he continued.

"You've got to be aggressive from the first tee, try to hit a lot of good quality shots and try to put pressure on your opponent.

"You have to play good. That's the only thing that matters. There's no sort of lucky charm or anything like that. This isn't really a place to sit back and let your opponent make a mistake, that's when you're going to lose."